Monday, July 13, 2009

Mean Girls

What is the deal with "mean girls?" As a teenger I went through some tough times when a former friend resorted to horrible tactics trying to ruin my reputation. The gossip and rumors were so hurtful, I remember spending countless nights crying myself to sleep.

I get that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but the effects of some of these experiences can cause long term emotional scars. For example, I recently had a conversation with a girlfriend about some of her junior high experiences. While she was telling her story, I could see the pain as tears welled up in her eyes and it was as if she was not 40, but more like 14 and reliving that pain.

Have any of you had any experiences with mean girls? What was the outcome? What, if anything would you have done differently? Are you a rehabilitated mean girl? What is it about females that causes us to compare each other? Why don't we do a better job of celebrating each other's successes? Tell me how you feel; blogging's cheaper than therapy and usually produces better advice!


  1. I just talked to Michelle about this post and she's so excited to hear what you all have to say. Whoever's infinite wisdom can enlighten Michelle with the best advice will get a $20.00 gift certificate!!!
    Winner will be announced on Friday.

  2. Well let's see..... which experience should I write about? HA, serious though. It seems as though you can never get away from "mean girls", whether you are affected by the mean girls, or you are the mean girl yourself.

    One experience I had was way back in the day when I was in 7th grade (12 years old, long time ago i know haha). This girl and I used to be great friends, hung out every day, and at the time, someone who i considered to be one of my best friends. Of course, boys were a big deal at the time, hahaha, and I remember she spread a rumor about me to the boy i liked so he would like her instead. Ha. For months he didnt talk to me anymore, and not only that, but he told other people what he "heard" so everyone distanced themselves from me. And what was this all for? Because my so called "friend" wanted to look better than me because a boy liked me and not her? Obviously, it has been 6 years since the experience, and i havent thought of the experience until now, but the girl still seems to have some type of grudge against me. Time to grow up? Yes, i think so.

  3. What I want to know is why we are all so worried about what other people think, friends, enemies, boys, etc. especially at that age. I think back on all the stupid things I did to get friends to like me more, to get boys to notice me, and to get the mean girls to just ignore me and not get on their radar. But really... why cant we teach our girls to be more strong willed and independent even at an early age. Help them realize that it really IS someone else's loss if they dont want to be our friends and that we shouldn't torment ourselves about it or feel bad about ourselves because of stupid things other people say or do.

    I know it seems a bit idyllic but honestly if I would have learned to be more confident and independent when I was young and vulnerable, I would have avoided a lot of tearful nights and stupid mistakes. I really think that is the answer... not relying so much on what others think, learning to think well of ourselves and let others see that and attract the right kind of friends with the right kinds of values and just ignore the opinions of all the rest.

  4. Sad as it is, I've dealt with mean girls all my life. From the sixth grade, to college, to roommates after college. All of them brutal. I think jealously is behind a lot of it, that and boredom, and the fact that no one wants to be the last (wo)man on the totem pole, they will push down the easist to be pushed.

    I have a little three year-old and have no doubt she will face the same thing and I've often wondered about how I will teach her deal with this issue. My best advice to her, I think, will be:

    1. To change friends. If it requires dropping the entire group, then do it. Sure, there might be nights spent at home, but compared to being brutalized? I spent my entire ninth grade year alone in the hallway. I made other friends. Best decision ever.
    2. Get a passion. It's a lot easier to deal with mean girls if you are so involved in other things that it doesn't matter quite as much. I opted to get really good grades. A lot of time spent at home will do that for a girl.
    3. Finally, I think my very best advice, one that I am so glad I followed is to never, ever be the mean girl. As hard as it was to endure the hate (and it was real HATE), I was never the one to give it. It kept me kind and humble (as hard as that was, there were so many times I was tempted to sink to their level). That has allowed me to forgive others and to move forward and to find such rich fullfillment. As a bonus... I will never have to carry around the knowledge that I delibrately tried to ruin someone else. That's worth a lot.

    I hope this helps. I am scared for the teenage years, but hope that maybe my experience will help my daughter if she has to suffer from Mean Girls. - Autumn

  5. Great ideas! One thing that helped me through the rough jr. high and high school years was to always speak positive, and be nice to everyone.

    My motto:
    If you haven't given anyone a reason to dislike you. Then it's not your fault if someone does. (In other words, It's their problem, not yours.)

    Your true friends will stay with you if you are also their true friend.

  6. I was in that situation as a young girl (8-12 years old), where a female neighbor that I admired, who was once my closest friend, continually teased me, hit me, ridiculed me, etc. My mom talked with the girls' parents, but of course they denied everything and it just got worse. The worst part was that I wasn't able to just ignore or avoid her- I still wanted to be friends.
    What my parents did, was encourage me to be more active in after-school sports and activities. By supporting me in my extracurricular hobbies, and volunteering with those as they could, they put me in social situations with more people. I ended up making friends through these activities (and some of those friendships are still going strong today, almost 2 decades later). I think just the act of surrounding me with more people, who then modeled good friendship to me and gave me the opportunity to make more friends, took my focus away from the mean girl. I was around less, to be ridiculed, and I was better able to ignore her because my need for friendship was filled elsewhere.

    As a former teacher, though, let me just say this: if this mean girl is hurting your daughter at school (whether during class, recess, after school, whatever), you have every right to talk to the principal about it. There are school counselors trained to help both girls deal with this situation, and the administrative staff is there to help. Utilize them! And good luck. Give your girl a hug from me, and let her know that we ALL go through this- the best of us weather it with strength and courage, even though it's difficult, and don't let it make us into mean girls ourselves.

  7. I was a target for mean girls my entire life. Not a victim, but always a target. One mean girl went from the same high school to the same college-you wouldn't have thought that she'd find me at a huge community college, but she did. While it was a horrific experience-I ended up moving out of state for 6 months away from my family and friends to escape her, I was never a victim. I wanted to say that so you'd understand that it always hurts, whether you care what people think or not. It's painful to have people hate you for no reason, and it's worse when there are people your age that think you're great-why doesn't this person see me the same way? All the psychology in the world doesn't matter, b/c it just doesn't add up. My point is that I never allowed myself to be a victim-you are only a victim if you allow yourself to become one. She may always be a target, like I was, but she doesn't have to be a victim. These are the things I did that helped.

    1. Every morning I recited "Phenominal Woman" to myself in the mirror.
    2. I asked my friends/peers(sorry mom and dad, it just means more to have friends say it)to write down good things about me, and carried the paper everywhere I went. One bully found out about my paper and used it against me-make sure friends know not to say anything about it!
    3. I became a kickboxer. This may sound freaky, but learning how to fight teaches you about power and weakness, and you realise that one of the reasons why they're mean is lack of confidence, and the assurance that no-one is going to fight back. People can tell you that like a broken record, but it's not until you're sure of yourself that you believe it. You also become more confident knowing you can physically protect yourself, and it transfers into the waya you carry yourself. One boy I knew said my walk had changed. When I asked him how, he said, "It's like you know you're worth something"

    Sadly, my 5 yr old daughter has already been the target of mean girls. And all I could think was, this is just how it is, sweetie. What I said was, "People are mean, and it's up to you to respond the right way." Sorry for any mistakes-hope this helps!

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  9. This is a hard subject, which does need to be talked about, especially among moms with young girls. While I don't recall being the victim of "mean girl abuse" while in school, during my first real job I did experience some of this (very sad that this type of treatment continues into adulthood!). I had a coworker who didn't like me, for no other reason than the fact that I did my job with excellence. She would talk about me to other coworkers (one of them eventually warned me), said she would find a way to "get me", etc. The sad part was--she was the "lead registrar" and supposed to be the role model!

    How did I deal with this? I was kind to her. I did not badmouth her, I helped her and went above and beyond what was required of me. I was friendly and confident. And she completely backed down!

    For any young (or older!) woman who is dealing with a mean girl, I would give this advice--follow the golden rule. Do to her as you would want her to do to you. Don't fall into the same trap of gossiping, backbiting, calling names (even if you have legitimate reasons). Show undeserved kindness. Go out of your way to do something nice. Return a compliment for an insult. I just read in Proverbs this morning that "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (15:1). It is absolutely RADICAL love that chooses to love an enemy, but no one can remain unmoved after experiencing undeserved kindness. Return a blessing again . . . and again . . .and again. Teach your daughters to respond in kindness, NO MATTER WHAT. It can soften even the hardest of hearts. Walk your girl through it, take it a day (or an hour!) at a time. Help her think through ways she can show kindness. Encourage her to stand up for what is right and to treat all with respect and love. This kind of selfless love gets noticed. If the mean girl remains unmoved, your daughter will be a stronger, more loving person as a result of doing the right thing under tremendous pressure. I can't think of many better life-lessons to learn!

  10. did you pick a winner yet? Just checking . . . =)

  11. Thank you so much for your comments. This can be a sensitive subject and somewhat controversial, as many of us have had different experiences & have different ways of relating to them. One thing my father used to tell me & my sisters is that it doesn't really matter who's right or wrong, because EVERYBODY usually thinks they're right. What matters is doing the right thing. Thank you again for your advice. It was too difficult for me to choose a winner because all of your comments touched me, so each of you will be receiving a $20 Layers e-gift certificate.

  12. To claim your prize, please email with your name and address. Thanks everyone!